Pineridge MP Rev Frederick McAlpine.
By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
PINERIDGE MP Frederick McAlpine yesterday accused Senate Vice President Dr Mildred Hall-Watson of using his name for a clout, saying it’s “sad” she had to criticise him “in order to receive some kind of traction” as many people “didn’t even remember” she is a senator.
Mr McAlpine said the critiques Dr Hall-Watson levied against him in the Senate on Monday were unfounded while also underscoring that he is not against the Free National Movement.
In fact, Mr McAlpine said, he is still holding to the tenets of the FNM, noting many of his controversial remarks about the current administration “are the very same things they were saying in opposition”.
During her contribution in the Senate, Dr Hall-Watson criticised Mr McAlpine for attempting “to demean, disrespect and embarrass” the FNM. She said Mr McAlpine’s attempts have backfired and he has “shamed himself”.
Regarding these comments, Mr McAlpine told The Tribune: “I would simply say I’m a long-shot from shaming myself in the FNM. There are many people who have embarrassed the FNM. And I don’t think I’m certainly one of them. In addition to that, many people didn’t even remember that Dr Hall was in the Senate. And it’s sad that she had to speak about me in order to receive some kind of traction.”
When asked if her criticism was unfounded, Mr McAlpine replied: “I think they were. But what needs to be the question is: after all these attacks on me by various ministers and senators, the question now remains: what (if what) Mr McAlpine is saying true? And if what he is saying is untrue, then they ought to be able to refute it. I’ve said many things that were factual in my contribution. I have yet to hear them refuted.
“As opposed to attacking a colleague or as opposed to attacking me on the issue of the budget, perhaps they can use that time to be more productive in the place where they sit,” he added.
Earlier this month, Mr McAlpine criticised the FNM during his contribution to the budget debate. At the time, he claimed he has been victimised by his party and excluded from all FNM meetings in Grand Bahama. Mr McAlpine claimed since voting against the increase in value added tax last year, the FNM has excluded him.
Regarding accusations that he is “anti-FNM”, Mr McAlpine insisted: “I’m not anti-FNM, I’m simply trying to get the government to go back to their original agenda. And they seem to have strayed away, not me. They’ve made promises that they have not kept. I’m still holding…to the tenet of the (FNM).
“As a matter of fact, if you shut your eye, and play back the tapes of the prime minister – it’s just me repeating what he said in another voice. How we’ve changed since we’ve come into governance. Because the very things I am saying about the present government, which I’m a part of, are the very same things they were saying in opposition. It just seems like the more things change, the more they remain the same in this country when it comes to government.”
Mr McAlpine has previously said he was not invited to the Grand Bahama parliamentary caucus meetings.
He told The Tribune yesterday that “nothing has really changed” since his presentation in Parliament. He added one of his Grand Bahama parliamentary caucus colleagues has reached out to him. Expressing his appreciation for the gesture, he added the conversation was “quite intriguing and fruitful”.
When asked if he has had any communication with Prime Minster Dr Hubert Minnis since his speech, Mr McAlpine said: “None whatsoever. I’m very amicable when I see him and respectful when I see him. But, there’s no communication between the prime minister and myself.”